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BP Tops Tower of Babel. God Gives Up. Rare Photo of Heaven's Gate.

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"Golden calves, Towers to the sky!"--I could hear Him talking behind the Gate. His voice was a little thin. He had been doing this for a long time--"I flooded the world for forty days! What is it going to take?"

"I couldn't help but overhear," I said. "What, this time?"

"I destroyed Babylon! I killed the first born of every infidel!" He thundered. "I parted the Red Sea!"

"True," I said. "Mostly."

"Ok!" He flung open the Gate. "Moses got credit! But I carried a lot of water!"

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He stood--not quite the formidable figure I had imagined--straddling the line separating lightness and dark--his stance a little tentative--but his skin, nevertheless, as pure as Michelangelo's depiction of God in the Sistine Ceiling. Plaster chunks and crumbled stucco lay scattered about.

"So what is bothering you?" I asked.

"The Brits!" he screeched. "Supposedly, the most proper people on earth! I molded their souls from dirt"--his dark eyes blazed--"into porcelain!"

"Teacups?" I said.

"Morons! Do I have to repeat Myself? Bunglers! Hard to believe I created them!"

"In whose image?" I asked.

"The warranty expired!--When they put a red cross on their flag! And crossed it out with another one!"

"I can see how you might feel," I said. "Being vengeful and all. But you look a little peaked."

Actually, he looked gaunt. The flowing beard and mane was tousled. His chest seemed particularly pale. In fact, he was developing a paunch.

"I haven't slept"--he yawned--"since you know when!"

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Conceived on west coast, born on east coast, returned to northwest spawning grounds. Never far from water.

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